Technology meets Politics-these are the things I geek out about

2 Jun

Today, news broke that President Obama’s re-election campaign hired the former CTO of Threadless to be their Re-election Campaign CTO.  Like President Obama or not, if you are at all into the internet, you should at least be able to appreciate the way he has embraced the web and the critical mass it can produce.

What Pres. Obama (then-Candidate Obama) did so effectively during his first election, was span the age gap by taking advantage of mixed media and old fashioned campaigning to rally his supports from the ground up. Starting off with traditional canvas techniques to organize his voters, he captured an older generation who were not yet on Facebook.  By using great marketing/CRM strategies, he did an excellent job engaging the middle sector of voters, those who had their blackberries in hand at night, but didn’t have their computers on late into the evening.  But his real victory was using Facebook to engage young people daily- directly where they were- reminding them of  both his political message and personal narrative.

But the internet is a different place today than it was in 2008.  Old generations are on Facebook now, younger generations are using services like GetGlue to check into media events, instagram and Colour to post pictures, and tumblr to mix traditional blogs with micro blogging like twitter.

By appointing Harper Reed- who by his own account is someone who likes to disrupt the status quo of the internet, the Obama Camp shows that they are still continuing to be forward thinking in their quest to use the internet to organize for their candidate.  As Fast Company stated in their coverage, Harper’s appointment was not a banal appointment as a “social media guru” or “email ninja” but as CTO- Cheif Technology Officer.  This appointment means nothing less than, take what we did in 2008 and make that look like old school AOL dial up.

And the options are out there.   Since 2008 other candidates have tried to capture the fire that Candidate Obama was able to capture through his stunning use of Social Media (and at that point, it was really just Facebook and Twitter that were really utilized).  Now, if you take a look at the landscape of social media and social technology the future is in smart phones, apps, and OS that operate parallel or similarly to tablets.

I think the next few months will be interesting to watch- both the blunders of those who try and jump in without understanding potential risks of social media (paging Anthony Weiner).

So, what ways do you think the Campaign can reach out in the ever changing landscape of the internet and social technology?   I personally am looking forward to potential partnerships with location based services for both canvassers and supporters to check in their activities that contribute to the campaign.






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